Following the success of the popular Music Trains in 2012, regular Music Trains will return to Mid Cheshire Line in April 2013 .....

2013 Music Trains

The Programme - Come and join us on one of our Music Trains in 2013, starting in April.  We will have daytime trains from Chester to Ashley, evening trains from Altrincham to Chester for Jazz at Alexanders, and evening trains from Chester to Plumley. 

The Train - music trains are arranged by the Mid Cheshire Community Rail Partnership.  It uses one of the Mid Cheshire Line’s regular hourly services to Manchester, operated by Northern Rail, which stops at all stations. 

How it works - the band plays on the train we take over a carriage.  At our destination everyone alights to visit the pub for drinks and good food – and there is a further session from the band.  There is no charge for the event - just the price of your ordinary train ticket.  There will be a collection for the musicians.  You can buy train tickets from staffed stations or from the conductor on the train - you can pay with a credit or debit card.  

Extra music trains - as well as operating the public programme of music trains we may be able to arrange a ‘special’ for a group of 35 or more – contact the music trains organiser to discuss the possibilities at musictrains@midcheshirerail.org.uk.

More details will be published in March 2013 on the Music Trains section of the Community Rail Partnership website www.midcheshirerail.org.uk.  You can also join our mailing list for regular news about events on the Line or contact our music trains organiser at musictrains@midcheshirerail.org.uk


Music Train reports from the blog

Chester Folk Festival - over 60 people from Chester and stations along the line caught the 1907 train from Chester to Plumley. Playing for us were The Time Bandits, Roy Clinging and Neil Brookes with Nick Mitchell and Friends, all part of the Chester Folk Festival.  The pub had arranged chairs in a large corner for the musicians and as soon as drinks were sorted it was straight into more playing and singing. The instrument playing was superb.  The J W Lees Bitter and sandwiches were going down a treat!  Those bound in the Manchester direction left to catch the on time 2143, whilst play continued until time to leave for the on time 2203 to Chester.  And the musicians played all the way back ….

Rusty Cadillacs - yesterday’s Music Train went very well. We had 25 people on the train on a cold, dry autumn night. The young country music band were excellent (Rusty Cadillacs) and their repertoire included ‘Merseyrail’ and ‘Night Train to Chester’ – both their own compositions. They varied the style between the train and the pub and finished with a lively return performance on the way back to Chester. With the young band came a younger audience as well. 

Dave Roberts Quartet - Dave Roberts & his band pay homage to jazz legends at Alexander’s Café Bar in Chester.  A Mid Cheshire Music Train will take you to hear them – with music on the train to Chester, taxis arranged to and from Alexanders, jazz at Alexander’s (and ‘sausage and mash’ as you listen) and more music on the train on the way back.

Acoustak - the August Mid Cheshire Line Music Train was a great success with accolades all round from those that came along.  We even had enthusiasts from Eastham Rake join us for the evening!  Acoustak, the Chester-based trio, were our guest band and their repertoire ranged from country, folk and pop through to bluegrass and old time.  It was almost like Bob Dylan, Steve Earle, Hank Williams and the Creedence Clearwater Revival were travelling on the 1907hrs out of Chester to the Golden Pheasant at Plumley.

Jaywalkers - never before has the Pacer’s famous swaying motion been put so well to musical effect!  The Jaywalkers managed it with ‘No Me Tacos’ on the Music Train from Plumley last Wednesday evening, swaying to the music and even encouraging their audience to sway along with them. It was one of the highlights of virtuoso performances on mandolin (Mike) and fiddle (Jay) on the way from Chester to Plumley, at the Golden Pheasant and on the way home to Chester.   Along the line we heard ‘Rubens Train’ (with train effects), ‘It Takes a Worried Man’ (with the audience singing along), Django Reinhardt, ‘Lady be Good’ and much more – even ‘Happy Birthday’ – bluegrass-style as we arrived at Mouldsworth.  An excellent evening out – both on the train and at the pub.

Goat Roper Rodeo Band - thanks again to The Goat Roper Rodeo Band for stepping in at short notice to play for us on last Wednesday’s Music Train. Exhilarating vocals and stylish acoustic instrumentals set Jim, Sam and Tom apart from the crowd. Their American folk, blues and country influenced music is an eclectic mix of classic songs from Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Lennon and McCartney and Paul Simon, even ZZ Top! 

The boys took us on a tour through the music of the Old Crow Medicine Show, the Everly Brothers, Johnny Cash and Sam Cooke as well as their own classy original songs, all delivered with a polished musicality worthy of the best, which had us stomping our feet in no time.

Dmitri Quartet - A gloomy, overcast evening turned glorious as we travelled along the Mid Cheshire line on 15 August 2012 en route to Alexanders in Chester, listening to a group of young musicians and their string quartet ‘Dmitri’. Eighteen clients plus regular passengers on the 18.46 from Altrincham were treated to an eclectic mix of music including classical, pop and even rock played on violins and a cello (I have never heard Guns and Roses sound so classical).

The evening continued at Alexanders Jazz Bar in Chester were clients were fed and watered and listened to a four piece jazz band ‘The Tim Franks Quartet’ whist tucking into Bangers and Mash.  The return journey to Altrincham was a joy, with Dmitri treating the passengers to almost an hour of popular songs from the Beatles, Elbow, Queen and many more, mixed in with more classical pieces. Everyone who attended had a fantastic evening and the band, who were superb throughout, enjoyed the evening immensely.

Nelson Peach - last Wednesday evening was a classic music train – with good music, a good atmosphere in the pub and a twilight ride home through the Cheshire countryside after the rain had stopped.  The augmented Nelson Peach (four instead of three) gave us a great range of music, lively jigs on the way out, fine singing in the pub (ending with an evocative performance of ‘Those were the Days’ for those who remember the Sixties) and more variety on the way home (including Doctor Finlay’s Casebook and The Archers).

Though the unseasonal cold and rain had clearly limited our numbers on the train we were joined at the Golden Pheasant by supporters from Lymm and Northwich to make up a healthy number.

No Music for the Music Train! - what do you do if you are running a music train, you find at the last minute that you have no music and Music Train organiser, Michael Ross is away on holiday in Cornwall? After panicking, sobbing quietly and thinking about your appalling singing skills and the ability to only remember one line of any song ….. you get on the phone and PLEAD for help!!

Thankfully poorly Graham from the Deportees knew someone who knew someone and so THANK YOU to Sean who wracked his brains, made a few calls and when it looked like no one could help at such short notice happened to walk past a couple of young musicians he knew honing their skills on the streets of Chester………

The GOAT ROPER RODEO BAND from North Wales SAVED THE DAY – the young duo Jim and Sam who play guitars and sing were up for a night out and the very different experience of playing and singing on a bouncy music train. They were joined by Jonathan a local musician and Adrian from the Deportees. An excellent night of music was enjoyed by all and the musicians played so well together that we thought there might be some “Deported Goats” sometime in the future!!

Follow the Blog, join the mailing list – if you’re interested, make sure you subscribe to the Blog www.mcrua.org.uk/chairmansblog

Join our mailing list by emailing musictrains@midcheshirerail.org.uk

Come along and join us next year for great music, great trains and great pubs!


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